Closing Silent-Rooms-Turned-Mosques in Dortmund and Berlin

This is the third post in a series on the closing of “silent rooms” — multi-faith prayer rooms that are used as de facto mosques — in German schools and universities.

These two news reports focus mainly on Dortmund and Berlin, but as you can see from the discussions, a similar situation exists all over Germany, wherever Muslims have sufficient numbers to mau-mau their way into control of the “silent rooms”.

What is heartening about these reports is that the German education authorities are sticking to their guns, and insisting that prayer rooms must be closed if Muslims enforce discriminatory rules on non-Muslim students. So far they have refused to cave in to pressure from Islamic lobbying groups.

Many thanks to Egri Nök for the translations, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling.



Transcript video #1:

00:00   The following talking-point is the eternal quarrel between religions.
00:03   The Technical University Dortmund intended to reconcile this with an inter-religious “Room of Silence”.
00:10   Everyone should have been able to pray, contemplate, or find tranquility there.
00:13   No matter what genesis story he or she prefers.
00:18   But as it happens with good intentions, almost always,
00:22   someone will ruin them with their unwillingness to compromise.
00:26   Ideologically and religiously neutral — that is how it was intended,
00:29   the “Room of Silence” at the Technical University Dortmund.
00:33   Christians, Hindus and Muslims should have been able retreat here equally, and pray.
00:38   But nothing here is neutral.
00:44   In the beginning of January, two female students complained, they said
00:48   they had been enticed away at the door, by a male Muslim student,
00:54   he told them that, as women, they can only use a small, sectioned-off part of the room,
00:59   and that the larger section was reserved for men.
01:02   A group of Muslim students was behind this,
01:05   who had repurposed the room into a purely Islamic prayer room, and ostracized women.
01:11   Their plan: the women on the left, the men on the right, separated by this makeshift wall.
01:18   This situation was unacceptable for the University Directorate, and so they closed the room.
01:23   From our point of view, this is discrimination against women,
01:26   and a breach of the Equal Treatment Imperative for men and women,
01:30   which is anchored in the Basic Law. As a public institution, we cannot tolerate that,
01:34   and therefore we had to close the room.
01:38   Some Muslim students opposed to the shutdown with a petition, but failed.
01:44   Hatice Durmaz of the Council of Muslim Students and Academics
01:48   cannot understand the University Directorate’s decision.
01:53   We condemn the fact that isolated students misbehaved, that is not acceptable.
01:58   But the solution cannot be that we, who object to this out of
02:02   our own self-conception, are being punished for that.
02:05   The room must be re-opened, and what happened accounted for, demands Durmaz.
02:10   The solution cannot be that the room is closed, and all problems are solved that way.
02:16   The problems are still there. The question is, how do we deal with them.
02:20   That is why we particularly criticize the way the University Directorate deals with the topic in general,
02:25   and with the students themselves. Collective punishment and bad crisis management?
02:29   The University Directorate disputes that.
02:33   They stand by their decision, and the room remains closed.
02:36   In Dortmund, the attempt to offer a room for all religions failed.
02:42   The same goes for religious rooms at other Universities in North Rhine-Westphalia.
02:46   Like here in Bochum, or in Essen, which have been closed, or will be closed, for similar reasons.
02:52   One has to wonder if the concept will work at other universities in Germany.

Transcript video #2:

00:00   “Now tell me, what is your take on religion?” [Goethe] — the Gretchenfrage
00:03   The Technical University of Berlin unambiguously answered it:
00:07   from March on, there will be no more prayer rooms on campus.
00:11   As a public institution, one must be ideologically neutral;
00:15   religion is private, says the TU president.
00:18   In the state of Niedersachsen it is not that unambiguous; there is a heated debate in the schools.
00:24   “A prayer room in schools”, says the “Islam Contract”
00:28   between the state of Niedersachsen and Islamic groups.
00:31   On demand, rooms can be provided that can be used for prayer outside class times.
00:38   A topic that provoked a critical debate in Niedersachsen.
00:42   Many heads of schools are skeptical.
00:46   We have quite a lot of different religions in our house.
00:49   Considering the variety we have, it is difficult to cater to one group specifically.
00:56   The equal opportunities officers worry that there will be social pressure on Muslim pupils,
01:01   when there are prayer rooms in schools.
01:05   How are pupils protected, who maybe do not wish to go there? And who are being controlled by other pupils?
01:10   We know this is happening with the way pupils dress.
01:15   At some schools, girls are being “educated” by other pupils about the modesty of dress,
01:20   and asked to wear the headscarf, and to dress differently.
01:23   About 300,000 Muslims live in Niedersachsen.
01:27   The “Islam Contract” is supposed to regulate the status of their religion and their coexistence in society.
01:33   It is about representation in committees, Muslim holidays, the building of mosques.
01:39   It is about defining mutual rights and obligations for coexistence.
01:45   We want to be recognized as normal citizens of this country.
01:51   The “Islam Contract” is just a draft so far.
01:54   The quarrel about prayer rooms alone shows how difficult it is
01:58   to find regulatory language that satisfies all.
    Screen titles:
00:46   Wilhelm Bredthauer, Director of Goethe School, Hannover
01:39   Frauke Heiligenstadt, Social Democrats, Culture Minister of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony)
01:45   Avni Altiner, State Association of the Muslims in Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony)

5 thoughts on “Closing Silent-Rooms-Turned-Mosques in Dortmund and Berlin

  1. Supposedly, during the American Civil War, President Lincoln was accosted by several individual who took the opportunity to complain to him of the imbibing of whiskey to excess by General Grant. Lincoln was reported to have replied “Find out what whiskey he drinks and send all of my generals a case, if it will get the same results.”

    One must wonder where the university administrators found their backbone from, and then proceed to send a case of it around to every EU politician, and drown Frau Merkel in it for good measure…

  2. In the Dortmund video, it appears the university was concerned about discrimination against Muslim women but not anyone else or at least they didn’t care to mention it. Perhaps they were just avoiding the self-justified retaliation against the other groups for being the source of the closure.

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